2011-03-02

Data Management Industry?

How important is an industry classification for data management professionals?

I have been asked  the question: What is your industry?

My reply, when given the option, is to say the Data Management Industry.

The particular vertical market that my company classifies itself according to Dun and Bradstreet Industry classification, Standard Industry Classification (SIC) or even North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) has a limited impact on my day to day duties.

Some industries have a more stringent requirement for data quality or data availability than others, but overall the manner in which data is managed between industries is consistently similar.

In every industry I have worked the same process is generally followed.

Data is captured


In Telecommunication, Energy and Supply Chain these systems are usually automated data capture via a field device such as a switch or a sensor, some are driven based on orders and some are driven based on consumer behavior.

In Retail and ECommerce the source data capture component is a customer facing system such as a web site or scanner for checking out at a grocery store.

Most companies have a human resources system that keep track of time for the customer facing employees tracking contextual information such as when did an employee arrive, what did they work on, when did they leave?

Data is integrated


Once we have the source data and as much contextual information about this data captured; that data is transferred to another system. This system could be a billing, payroll, time keeping or analytical system, such as a data warehouse or a data mart. The methods used to create this integration system can vary depending on the number of source systems involved and the requirements for cross referencing the data from one system with the data in other systems.

At times certain data points are transferred outside the organization. This data could be going to suppliers, vendors, customers or even external reporting analysts.

Internally each department within an organization needs to see certain data points. Marketing, Merchandising, Finance, Accounting, Legal, Human Resources, Billing, to name a few do not necessarily need to see all of the data captured. However the data they do require does need to get to them in a timely manner in order for these departments to support the overall organization.

Data is protected

During all of these data interchanges the same types of functions need to be performed.

Data must be secured (the users that need access have it, those that do not need access cannot see it), backed up, restores tested and verified, performance must be optimized, problems need to be addressed when they arise, quality must be maintained, and delivery must be verified.

Data Management Professionals

The Data Management profession consists of people striving to create, implement, maintain and evolve best practices for managing the data that runs our enterprise.

The challenges of data management, the problems we solve and the solutions we provide are more similar than they are different.

Is the industry classification of the enterprise we support all that important?

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